Social Services of the Guilds

| Guild Hall Entrance | Development of Craft Guilds | Early Regulations |

| Apprenticeships | Journeymen | Women in the Guilds | Social Services |

| Great Weakness of the Guild System |

Guilds perform social and religious functions within its ranks along with its chief purpose of economic control. They care for the widows and children of members who die and pay the costs of the funeral. Very often they run schools for the children of their members. Each guild also conducts religious ceremonies in honor of their patron saint. These religious functions are usually performed by a separate organization called a confrerie, but its members are the members of the guild. This religious influence can be seen in the construction of the Chartres cathedral, where each of the town's guilds donated a nave window.

Eventually the antagonism between the ruling merchant guild of the town and the craft guilds erupted into serious political disturbances in many cities, even riots and revolts. In Flanders during the fourteenth century the craftsmen rebelled, overthrew the government of rich merchants, routed the king of France who was the merchants' ally, and later formed an alliance with Edward III of England. This effect of the revolt of the Flemish weavers was the exception rather than the rule, however, the serious uprisings in other towns usually terminated in an arrangement whereby the craft guilds shared in the town government.


Picture courtesy of Stewart Quinsolve at website William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon: Brief History, Times and References


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Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Authors: Bonnie Panagakis, Chris Marszalek, Linda Mazanek
School: Twin Groves Junior High School, Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089
Created: November 25, 1997 - Updated: